Gramarthan – Rural Classroom
White chalk on a black board. A classroom full of children aptly listening to a young teacher. The topic today is geometry. As she navigates through the lesson with comfort and ease you may think this is her everyday business. But you are wrong my friend, look again.
Deepastambh Charitable trust is an Ngo working from Pune and Nasik. It was started by a group of youngsters to make volunteering for social activities and social causes easily accessible to the city youth looking to make a positive change in the society. Currently Deepastambh runs yearly projects like Upayn, School Sansad, Eco Pavitra, Gramarthan etc which are touching lives through various social activities. The scene above is straight from Deepastambh's Gramarthan project and the teacher is Me. You are already wondering what is a young city girl doing in a village class teaching Geometry and Algebra.
In today’s stressful and competitive lives, we find ourselves running from pillar to post. Volunteering for social activities is even distant a dream. Even if we do have the intention it is difficult to actualize it due to lack of resources and information. I always had the urge to do my bit for the society and it was more intense during my college years. That is when I got introduced to Deepastambh and after looking at the work they had been doing, I decided to volunteer with them for Gramarthan.
Deepastambh’s Gramarthan project aims at sustainable village development. Various activities like monthly medical check-ups, water management measures, cleaning activities, women empowerment programs and skill development programs are regularly conducted under this project in rural areas. After realising that there is a huge gap in the rural education system as compared to that of urban education system we started Gramarthan’s education program two years ago with the aim to provide rural children good quality education and essential life skills. My first day in classroom went better than I expected. I was assigned to teach the students Algebra and Geometry. It was difficult at first. We had a few hiccups. Lack of convenient transportation from Pune to the designated villages was a sore spot, but local DTC volunteers helped me sort this issue. Later in the classroom I found it hard to cope with lack of discipline but each day I figured out what worked well with the students and was eventually able to keep the discipline at a reasonable level, maintaining an environment that could foster and encourage learning. As a first time teacher, coming up with lesson plans was difficult as was holding on to the attention of these children. But slowly and steadily I got the hang of it and soon I started adding more creative ways of teaching the class. Slowly the children participation increased and by the end of it they loved coming for our classes. It was a fun and educative experience. This activity not only helped the rural children but the experience of it has prepared me for my future goals. The students taught me persistence and perseverance. Their eagerness and energy to participate in the class and reach me half way made the experience a joyful one .It was great pleasure to guide them and more so to learn from them.
I thank Deepastambh for this wonderful opportunity. Best wishes to you guys. May your journey be long and fruitful. May you continue will all these wonderful initiatives. Thank you.
– Ruchika Patil
(Volunteer) Deepastambha Charitable trust, Pune